30 Years of Innovation for Michelin at the Shell Eco-marathon

Apr 10, 2015 5:15 PM ET

Michelin was involved in the Shell Eco-marathon right at the very beginning in 1985 and has been ever since. In 2015, the Shell Eco-marathon is celebrating its 30th anniversary, a major milestone that represents three decades of competition and innovation. We take a look back at a rich history of innovation in the field of sustainable mobility…

Shell Eco-marathon: European Beginnings…

France was the cradle of Shell Eco-marathon Europe, since the first edition was held here in 1985, with the involvement of 25 teams from four countries.
It was held at the Paul Ricard Circuit in Le Castellet, in the south of France, until 1999.
In 2000, the competition moved to the Paul Armagnac Circuit in Nogaro and, as of 2009, to the EuroSpeedway in Lausitz, Germany.

… and International Growth

The competition has continued to grow since 1985 to become an international event held each year in three regions of the world: Europe, the Americas and Asia. The first edition of Shell Eco-marathon Americas was held in 2007 in Fontana, California, with 20 participating teams.

The competition was held for the first time in Asia in 2010 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

From Wood to 3D Printing

Vehicle manufacturing has greatly evolved since the competition’s beginnings. The first vehicles were made of wood and fiberglass. Transmission parts, which were previously made of steel, are now made of aluminum, carbon or even polymer (using 3D printing technology).

Technology in the Service of Energy Performance

The introduction of electronics and computers has had a significant impact on vehicle energy efficiency by enabling improved control of engines, as well as injection and ignition.

These various developments have enabled teams to produce high-performance vehicles and beat energy efficiency records.
In 1985, Team Henry from Switzerland came first in the prototype category, setting a record of 680 kilometers on 1 liter of gasoline.
Around thirty years later, Team Microjoule La Joliverie from France topped the same category with a record of 3688 kilometers on 1 liter of gasoline.